Invincible Class Battlecruiser (1908) BC

The Invincible Class (1908) of battlecruisers, were the first of a new type of warship, a product of Admiral Fisher's ideas which also produced HMS Dreadnought, the first of a new type of battleship which made all previous battleships obsolescent.

Battlecruisers were intended to be armed to battleship standard, and therefore outgun, armoured cruisers. They also had to be faster than the fastest cruisers. This requirement meant they needed very powerful machinery. HMS Invincible and her sisters had installed horsepower almost twice that of HMS Dreadnought

Even with this compromise had to be made, and so the Invincible Class had reduced armour protection. This was not a problem as shown in the Battle of the Falkland Islands, but when slowed to battleship speeds during the Battle of Jutland, the weakness was exposed.

Although they had 8 x 12in guns, in four twin turrets, the two midships turrets could not fire across the ship, which reduced the broadside to six guns.

All three ships reached 28ktsin service, and Indomitable crossed the Atlantic at an average speed of 25kts.

Although revolutionary and powerful ships, their deficiency was in armoured protection, particularly to plunging fire to the turrets. When there was little to prevent the flash going down to the magazine, causing a massive and fatal explosion.


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Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.

This page last edited - 28 January, 2013.